Varadkar should be ashamed by abortion vote, says Donegal Pro-Life leader

Ireland has voted to change abortion laws. Credit: PA

The leader of the No campaign in the only constituency to vote against abortion reform has said Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar should be ashamed.

Donegal Pro-Life leader Mary T Sweeney heavily criticised Dublin after the country as a whole opted for change.

In the most northerly part of the Republic, the sprawling county of Donegal, 48% voted yes and 52% no. It was the only one of 40 constituencies to vote no.

Ms Sweeney said: “Donegal Pro-Life says shame on you Leo.

“There is a vibrant pro-life group; beautiful young people stood together in utter disbelief as they realised what was happening across the country.”

She said Donegal had not listened to the marketing ploys used for “suppression” of the truth and what she called the lack of investigative journalism or interest from the media.

She said the Taoiseach had gone from supporting life-affirming views as a doctor to backing what no voters have characterised as the murder of babies.

Mr Varadkar has said life experience, realising things were not as black and white as you got older, and becoming more aware of the difficult experiences facing women, helped change his mind.

Ms Sweeney added: “We are here to lead the country in the pro-life views and we will rebuild the esteem of life through faith and culture and support and pro-life view across Ireland.”

She said it was “nonsense” to suggest Donegal was more influenced by Catholicism.

“Moral value was evident in Donegal, moral value was paramount, we appreciate life and we respect life.

“We lived in the Troubles, we lived on the border, we saw life being randomly selected and expunged.

“We saw and suffered with the people of Northern Ireland along the border when tyranny prevailed.

“We did not want to see the unborn being murdered under the guise of women’s health.”

She has a long track record of campaigning against perceived injustice, including opposing the closure of a hospital chapel.

She described herself as a “run of the mill” Catholic who went to Mass on a Sunday, “often late”.

Three young people offered their support during counting in Donegal on Saturday, two of whom had disabilities and felt the No campaign meant people like them would be protected.

But she said the disabled had not been protected because the country had voted yes to abortion reform due to what Ms Sweeney blamed on media manipulation.

She had faith the No campaign could rise again because it was so low.

“The people of Donegal are very strong, we will take on Leo.”

Together For Yes spokeswoman Ailbhe Smyth said Donegal very nearly made it across the 50% line and it was a challenge.

“And it was a constituency that just very nearly made it.

“So thank you Donegal for all your efforts, it is a very special thank you for us.”